CLEVELAND — The 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland is nearly a week away. With that in mind, let's take a look at our latest projection for this year's first round with our latest mock draft.
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1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This one has been set in stone since the Jaguars clinched the NFL's worst record in 2020, as Trevor Lawrence has long been considered a future No. 1 pick. After spending the entirety of his coaching career at the college level, Urban Meyer begins his NFL career with the most highly touted quarterback prospect since the Indianapolis Colts drafted Andrew Luck out of Stanford in 2012.
2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Much like the Jaguars with Lawrence, the Jets have seemed settled on Zach Wilson for the better part of the draft process. And the team's decision to trade Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers only confirmed New York's plan to use the No. 2 pick of its (next) quarterback of the future.
3. San Francisco 49ers (via Miami) - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
After weeks of public flirtation with Alabama's Mac Jones, buzz has been building that the 49ers will use the No. 3 pick on Justin Fields. The reigning Big Ten MVP possesses the physical tools to help take Kyle Shanahan's offensive system to the next level.
4. Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Considered the top non-quarterback in this year's draft, Kyle Pitts could add a new dynamic to a Falcons passing attack that already includes Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Considering the run on quarterbacks, this seems like a possible trade-up spot for a team targeting Mac Jones or Trey Lance.
5. Cincinnati Bengals - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Offensive line stands out as the Bengals' most pressing need, but some opportunities are too good to pass up on. After signing offensive tackle Riley Reiff in free agency, Cincinnati can reunite the top receiver in this year's draft, Ja'Marr Chase, with his college quarterback, Joe Burrow.
6. Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia) - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
After initially trading down to 12, the Dolphins traded back up to 6, presumably to select a difference-maker. Adding Jaylen Waddle -- who played with Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama -- next to Will Fuller V, Miami could go from one of the weakest wide receiving corps to one of the most dynamic.
7. Detroit Lions - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Seemingly at the start of a rebuild, the Lions can go a number of directions with this pick. Micah Parsons seems like the type of linebacker new head coach Dan Campbell would want to build his defense around.
8. Carolina Panthers - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
As they showed in last year's draft, the Panthers have no problem just taking the best player on the board. In this case, that happens to be Penei Sewell, who most consider to be the top offensive tackle prospect in this year's draft.
9. Denver Broncos - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
It's really hard for me to believe the Broncos are going to head into the season with Drew Lock leading an otherwise playoff-caliber roster. Trey Lance may not be ready right away, but it would be tough to argue he wouldn't help raise Denver's ceiling.
10. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Cowboys
While they re-signed Jourdan Lewis, the Cowboys lack a true lockdown cornerback. The son of a three-time Pro Bowl selection, Patrick Surtain II possesses the potential to be just that.
11. New York Giants - Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
Despite the Giants' active offseason, edge defender stands out as one of their remaining needs. Kwity Paye may have lacked the college production, but his upside appears to be the highest at his position in this year's class.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami via San Francisco - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
While Surtain may have entered the draft process as the consensus top cornerback, Jaycee Horn has seen a recent rise. Considering his athletic ability and physical nature, Philadelphia would certainly benefit from adding the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn to its secondary.
13. Los Angeles Chargers - Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
Now that they have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Chargers need to protect him. Northwestern's Rashawn Slater possesses the ability to play multiple positions and is right there with Sewell at the top of this year's offensive line class.
14. Minnesota Vikings - Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami (Fla.)
With the Everson Griffen era over in Minnesota, the Vikings will likely be prioritizing their pass rush. The nation's No. 1 overall recruit in 2017, Jaelan Phillips has some injury concerns, but showed flashes of living up to his considerable hype during the 2020 season.
15. New England Patriots - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Patriots have been uncharacteristically aggressive this offseason, especially as it pertains to acquiring skill players. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith is the type of dynamic chess piece that New England's offense has been lacking in recent years.
16. Arizona Cardinals - Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Even after signing Malcolm Butler, the Cardinals have a glaring need at cornerback. Caleb Farley was considered by many to be the top prospect at his position before opting out of the 2020 season.
17. Las Vegas Raiders - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Raiders could justify using their first-round pick at any defensive position. The top defensive tackle in this year's class, Alabama's Christian Barmore could add versatility and upside to Las Vegas' defensive line.
18. Miami Dolphins - Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (Fla.)
After using their first first-round pick on offense, the Dolphins turn their attention to defense -- and their own backyard. Gregory Rousseau was considered a potential top-five pick prior to opting out of the 2020 season.
19. Washington Football Team - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
In all likelihood, the Washington Football Team would need to trade up to make this pick a reality. But if they can make it happen, Mac Jones could spend a year learning under Ryan Fitzpatrick before taking over as the Football Team's quarterback of the future.
20. Chicago Bears - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Short of improving at quarterback, there isn't a bigger need on the Bears' roster than the one on the offensive line. USC's Alijah Vera-Tucker possesses the versatility to play anywhere on the unit that Chicago needs him to.
21. Indianapolis Colts - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
Following the departure of Justin Houston, the Colts' defense lacks a proven pass rusher to take advantage of the attention DeForest Buckner commands. Having run a 4.36 40-yard dash at Penn State's pro day, there aren't many edge defenders in this year's class with more potential than Jayson Oweh.
22. Tennessee Titans - Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
Following the release of Adoree' Jackson, cornerback stands out as one of the Titans' most obvious needs. Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel played alongside Asante Samuel Jr.'s father in New England.
23. New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) - Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
After using their first pick on a quarterback, the Jets use their second selection to bolster their defense. One of the most talented edge defenders in this year's class, the addition of Azeez Ojulari could help New York complete its offseason front-seven overhaul.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers' running game ranked last in the league in total yards and yards per carry last season. The way this year's class is shaped, Pittsburgh taking a stud running back like Najee Harris in the first round before turning its attention to the offensive line later in the draft seems to make sense.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Now that the Jaguars have a franchise quarterback, they need to protect him. Christian Darrisaw could anchor a Jacksonville offensive line that currently lacks a long-term investment at either tackle spot.
26. Cleveland Browns - Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Between Greedy Williams missing the entire 2020 season with a shoulder injury and Denzel Ward possessing his own injury concerns, Cleveland could certainly use another starting-caliber cornerback. One would imagine the Browns would jump at the chance to draft Greg Newsome II, whose size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) would bring a new dynamic to Cleveland's secondary.
27. Baltimore Ravens - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
It's clear that the Ravens need to get Lamar Jackson more weapons to play with. Rashod Bateman's precision would pair nicely opposite Marquise Brown's speed.
28. New Orleans Saints - Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
If Jameis Winston is going to have a chance in New Orleans, the Saints are going to need to improve the weapons around him. Elijah Moore's speed and versatility would seemingly be coveted by head coach Sean Payton.
29. Green Bay Packers - Zaven Collins, LB/Edge, Tulsa
The Packers released Christian Kirksey and Preston Smith looms as a likely cap casualty after the season. Zaven Collins possesses the versatility to play both a traditional linebacker role and rush off the edge -- a skill set that would fit well in Green Bay's 3-4 scheme.
30. Buffalo Bills - Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
The offseason departure of John Brown leaves Buffalo in need of a wide receiver to help take the attention off of Stefon Diggs. One of the most dynamic receivers in this year's draft, Kadarius Toney could be the man for the job.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Anybody who watched the Super Bowl knows that the Chiefs' offensive line needs are obvious. Pro Football Focus' third-ranked offensive tackle in 2020, Teven Jenkins could step right into a starting role as a rookie.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Returning every starter from last year's Super Bowl roster, the Buccaneers could go a number of directions with their first-round pick. With Antonio Brown still unsigned, Tampa Bay could use another receiver and would put Rondale Moore's speed to good use.